Ode to Jaco

Steel-pan jazz man remembers bass legend and friend Jaco Pastorius

When his friend's life began to unravel, Molineaux saw it all. He was there when Pastorius fell from a third-floor hotel balcony, breaking his hand, spleen, and body. He was there for the bass player's infamous denouement at the Hollywood Jazz Festival, when he tore apart the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

One night, after performing at the 7th Avenue in New York, Molineaux found Pastorius listening to his gig outside. Banned from the club, the homeless Pastorius waited in a black tux. "He said, “I heard about Harold [Molineaux's recently deceased dog]. I rented this black suit to be in on the gig,'" remembers the pan player. "It was really very touching."

Molineaux pays homage to his friend with his upcoming release, due out later this month. Eight years after his solo debut, It's About Time on the Big World label (New Times's Best Jazz Album in 1994), his second album features guest appearances by Thielemans and Jamal as well as three Pastorius-penned tunes. "Jaco influenced a lot of lives; he had an incredible capacity to love. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him," says Molineaux. "So this is a very special record for me." The title? "For Jaco, with Love."

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